Implementation of “Our Healthy Life” (SOI-MT-399)

Author: Edward Falzon, Lecturer Institute of Applied Science

School/Organization: Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology (MCAST), Malta

The learning Scenario  ‘Our Healthy Life (LS-RO-349)‘ by Emilia Marina Lexe available in Europeana resources, was implemented differently, as a starting point for activity on health and nutrition.   The subject areas covered during this implementation were a combination of both healthy nutrition awareness and basic nutritional biochemistry development. Nutritional biochemistry includes the science of molecular biology making reference to the chemical composition of biological molecules and the physiological mechanisms of action of various food constituents and nutrients. It also explores the link between biological molecules such as micronutrients (vitamins and minerals, which help the body grow and develop) and macronutrients (known as carbohydrates, proteins and fats, which provide calories for energy) in relation to energy requirement and body development. Also emphasises how an unhealthy diet can play in the establishment, development and prognosis of particular physical diseases such as diabetes, heart-related diseases, cancer and illnesses that all have been linked to diet and nutrition. 

Promoting balanced nutrition is the foundation of teenage students’ health and brings benefits that can last a lifetime. Implementing awareness among our students about healthy eating will help them to have a positive relationship with food well into adulthood. Shaping these habits can be healthy to improve cognitive skills such as memory and concentration which are an asset to improve academically. Moreover, certain unhealthy food can lead to unwanted weight gain as well as conditions like heart disease, diabetes and even depression and anxiety. 

Considering the amount of time that students spend at an educational  Institution, as well as the fact that many students consume at least one daily main meal or a snack there, I think educational institutions are an ideal environment for supporting such healthy behaviours. Educational Institutions are the key environment to teach large groups of students of all social classes about healthy eating and thus instil positive dietary behaviours, which can follow throughout their lives. 

Positive habits about healthy eating among vocational students in Malta.

The main objective of this learning scenario was to introduce basic nutritional concepts that are essential to health recommendations to increase awareness concerning healthy eating habits. This included the importance of food components, specific nutritional needs for the human body to function healthwise, nutritional measures and the vital role of biological molecules in relation to health. The subject selected to be implemented in this learning scenario was nutritional biochemistry. This facilitated the students’ understanding of the biological molecules found in various food constituents to increase their awareness about their own health.

The implemented learning scenario was delivered by using a student-centred approach, to give students the opportunity to cooperate with each other to accomplish a task. It was carried out among twenty students whose ages varied from 16-17 years as a possibility to teach part of a study unit (Causes of Diseases and Maintaining a Healthy Lifestyle) within the curriculum intended for the foundation certificate level at the Institute of Applied Science, MCAST. Before the lecture, most of the students present in class were aware of the nutritive value of foods and eating practices. Whereas,  most of the students had misconceptions about the basic concepts of biological molecules in relation to the different types of food and their effect on human health. Once exposed to such knowledge the students seemed to assess the importance of consuming certain types of foods and avoiding others which might lead to undesirable effects on human health.


The initial plan of the lecture was based upon the learning Scenario Our Healthy Life (LS-RO-349) with slight amendments particularly when addressing students between 16-17 years of age. In this lecture, nutritional biochemistry and a healthy lifestyle were reinforced through vocabulary, which at the same time focused on exposing the students to digital skills and improve in their communication skills.

Learning process

The activities carried out during the lecture were as follows: 

The lecturer allocated 20 minutes to give an overview of the module by emphasising the importance to distinguish between the different types of foods and their respective biological molecules.

A. Awareness of Healthy eating: What comes to your mind? 

The students have been allowed 40 minutes for discussion in which every student is encouraged to think aloud and suggest as many ideas as possible based on their diverse knowledge: 

  • 10 minutes were assigned to view a short video clip
  • 30 minutes were allocated for students to evaluate their own food choices and compare them to healthier food choices discussed in the video clip. This gave the student a better insight into selecting the right food.
  1. The Food Pyramid and biological molecules 

The lecturer assigned 60 minutes to show a picture to the students of a Mediterranean diet-food pyramid and involved all the students in the discussion to discuss the importance of categorising the types of food.  Meanwhile, the lecturer used the same food images within the food pyramid to explain in detail the different classes of biological molecules found in each of the different types of food and explain their effect on human health.

  1. Developing the skill

Take-home assignment.

In selected pairs, students have been asked to look at the drawing below and accomplish a 20-minute. PowerPoint presentation, in front of their classmates, based on the following points:

  1. Assess the different types of food illustrated in the painting below and classify them according to their biological molecules content. 
  2. Discuss the effect of each food item (mentioned in point 1) in relation to health and based on its biological molecule content. 
  3. Create two different healthy eating plans, one for an active person and one for a non-active person, to achieve their daily calorie goal for leading a healthy lifestyle. Using scientific evidence, the students were advised to give reasons for their options for both healthy eating plans.

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Healthy eating, Bill Mc Conkey, Wellcome Collection, CC BY 4.0

All activities were assessed and students were given constructive feedback.

The learning outcomes

The learning goals by the end of this learning scenario were as follows:

  • categorise and describe healthy eating habits, through creating a healthy eating program and healthy combinations.
  • critically analyse and evaluate concepts in nutritional biochemistry important for understanding human nutrition and health awareness. 
  •  work with their respective classmates in a collaborative manner.
  • understand what it entails to carry out research work.
  •  Develop both technical and cognitive abilities in using information and communication technologies to create, evaluate and share information. 

In order to achieve the learning outcomes the lecturer made use of picture diagrams, videos and 3D models when necessary to explain in detail the concept of the biological molecules. Through this type of teaching approach, the students were more actively participating during the lecture.

The end result of this learning scenario led to lifelong learning and allowed students to further their studies (in related study areas) to higher levels.

My experience as an educator, making use of Europeana resources 

 At the beginning of this SOI, I was reluctant about how I could use Europeana resources in my lectures since the information that pertains to the area of interest was limited. However, the material available within the Europeana resources was found useful to construct a good learning scenario which was fit for my area of interest. Therefore, as an educator, it gave me the opportunity to develop more creative and inclusive teaching methods.  

The idea of introducing different subjects simultaneously and in the right order was taken from the different learning scenarios available on Europeana resources. In introducing such an idea in my learning scenario, students showed more confidence to associate and connect the two subjects, which shared common knowledge. Therefore, it helped out in facilitating the student’s learning process.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? Our Healthy Life (LS-RO-349) created by Emilia Marina Lexe

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Do you want to discover more stories of implementation? Click here.

Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Rijksmuseum.

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